Glawe Outlook

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Farmer's Dictionary

There are dictionaries for converting Spanish words to English, French words to English and German words to English, among others, but I have never seen a dictionary for converting farmer's terms to English.

For us city-raised people, a book such as this would be conveniently helpful.

My husband has scaled down on farming but when his main job was farming I heard words I'd never heard before (and some of them that the kids should not be subjected to! You know, those ones that slip out when the #@%* tractor wouldn't start or when those #@%* pigs or cows got out of their pens.)

When my farmer husband used to come in the house after a rain and confessed he was out "muddin' around" the first thing I thought of was that he was pretending to be a little kid again playing in the mud.

In actuality, muddin' around is described as 1: Something farmers don't enjoy doing after a heavy rain. 2: An action that prevents farmers from doing much of anything; might as well check out what's on Oprah.

And then sometimes he would tell me the wet soil was "greasy." OK. I have no idea how soil becomes full of grease. But if my husband would tell me the soil is "oily" well, then, we'll just load up the truck and move to Beverly Hills where there are swimming pools and movie stars!

And just where did the terms come from to get livestock moving? "Hike" is something my husband used to yell at the cattle when he had them. Now to me, that would be a much more suitable term for getting hogs moving - get it? Hike, as in flying pigskin!

But instead some farmer way back when got his hogs a-movin' by saying "sooey." He must have had peanut butter in his mouth or something when he came up with that one. Was he trying to say "shoe-y" as in wonderful pigskin footwear? This term could also be used to get rid of the flies that are lingering around them on those hot days after the animals have rolled around in who knows what!

The term "shoo" actually went to the herding of chickens. Calling "noodle soup" probably would have worked just as well for these pinhead birds.

Now, tell me, just how have the livestock, generation upon generation, known what to do when their farmers yelled the appropriate words to them? Do they have some kind of computer chip implanted in them to translate?

There are other terms that confuse me.

Why do farmers "sow" the oats? There is no needle and thread used. Or use the term "put up" hay? It takes more of a push to get it to the top of the rack.

The one that really is most difficult to understand is why some guy came up with the name "honey wagon" to the tank used to spread waste from the pit. It certainly doesn't smell like honey as it comes flying out, or look like honey and whoa, keep your mouth closed, it doesn't taste like honey. But it certainly does draw the flies (not bees, though.)

I guess maybe it's named that because after a husband comes in from using the contraption all day, all the wives can say is, "Oh, honey..." and adds under her breath, "Oh.... smell."

There are many other terms that could be compiled into a book. This would be a good project to do for a farmer who is in watching Oprah.